Chris Rock got more than he may have bargained for as a presenter at the 94th Academy Awards.
While presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature, which ultimately went to Questlove’s Summer of Soul, he made a joke at the expense of Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, whose head was shaved.
While Will Smith appeared to be laughing in the aftermath of the comment, he then stunned the audience at the Dolby by storming the stage and slapping Rock in the face. “Wow,” said Rock afterward. “Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me.”
Smith’s comments were censored when he returned to his seat, but it was apparent that he told Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out your f***king mouth.”
Wow, dude. It was a G.I. Jane joke,” replied Rock.
“Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth,” Smith repeated.
While some wondered whether this moment from the Oscars was staged or real, it looks to have been the latter. It appeared that Rock later apologized, with Denzel Washington stepping in to try to help diffuse the situation, according to multiple sources on site. The moment was all the more surreal given the fact that Smith is nominated tonight for his turn in Warner Bros.’ sports drama King Richard and is expected to return to the stage later to claim the award for Best Actor. He’s also nominated for Best Picture as a producer, having last been nominated for The Pursuit of Happyness in 2007.
“Will, Chris, we are gonna solve that like a family at the gold party,” presenter P. Diddy later said. “For now, we will move on with love.”